It was a great night for the Dodgers and the fans. The Dodgers finally returned home from their longest road trip of the season certainly exhausted yet battle tested. The Dodgers won 6 of the 10 games on the trip including three of the last four in St. Louis over the Cardinals. While the Sunday Night baseball shutout loss to Adam Wainwright was frustrating, the Dodgers still accomplished what they needed to by winning the series.
So entering Monday night’s series opener against Colorado, the Dodgers were a half game behind the Rockies in the NL West and tied with the Cardinals for the second NL wild card spot. Needless to say that tonight’s game was probably a must win for the boys in blue with just 12 games remaining in the season. Going down by a game and a half was just not ideal.
So the Dodgers rose to the occasion in beautiful style by stomping the Rockies in their 8-2 win. The Dodgers jumped out in front early scoring two in the first, four unanswered runs in the third and two more in the bottom of the fourth to knock opposing starter Jon Gray out of the box in the opening innings. It was a terrible night for the Rockies, who got blown out and lost Trevor Story who had to leave the game with an undisclosed injury.
Rockies 2 6 0
Dodgers 8 11 0
Joc Pederson was the offensive star of the game as he smashed two home runs and made an impressive running catch on a Drew Butera line drive in the bottom of the fifth. Pederson led off the game with his first home run of the night in the bottom of the first. Two outs later Max Muncy walked and the red-hot National League player of the week Yasiel Puig singled him to third. Gray uncorked a wild pitch on ball four to Cody Bellinger allowing Muncy to score and give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. Puig tried to advance to third but was thrown out by old friend Drew Butera.
Joc doubled to lead off the bottom of the third and after Justin Turner singled, Manny Machado’s RBI single gave the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. The big blast of the night came in the next at-bat as Muncy bombed one halfway up the left field pavilions much to Gray’s chagrin. The Dodgers took a commanding 6-0 lead. In the bottom of the fourth, with Gray long gone, Ryu led off with a walk and would come around to score on Pederson’s second home run of the game. Joc was 3 for 4 with three runs scored and three runs batted in. The Dodgers were now in front by an 8-0 score.
We can’t forget the contributions of Dodger starter and warrior Hyun-jin Ryu. The Korean left hander proved that he can be trusted in important games by tossing seven shutout innings. He allowed just four hits, struck out five and did not walk anyone. After Ryu exited with an 8-0 lead, the Dodgers used a quartet of relievers. John Axford, Tony Cingrani and Yimi Garcia were all activated from the disabled list and saw action in Monday’s game. Axford pitched to two batters, recording one out. Garcia pitched two-thirds of an inning and walked a batter. Alex Wood also got in some work. Wood who was been relegated to mop-up duty proved why, looking terrible as he allowed two runs on a hit, and a walk over two-thirds of an inning. Cingrani retired the final hitter to secure the Dodger’s 8-2 win.
The Dodgers are now 83-68 and move back into first place by a half game. The Cardinals won their game in Atlanta, so they now have a half game lead over Colorado for the second wild card. To make this night even better, the Giants were officially eliminated from the NL West race.
The Dodgers and Rockies will do it again tomorrow in what should be an exciting pitching match-up. Colorado southpaw Kyle Freeland will duel Clayton Kershaw with first pitch scheduled for 7: 10 PM PST. The Dodgers magic number is 12. Hey there’s eleven games left, but it still makes me feel better to say that.